Treestand Safety – Advantages and Disadvantages

Sponsored by Mountaineer Sports (maker of the life-savingRescue One  ‘CDS’ Controlled Decent System) and the TreeSuit.

By: Richard L. Holdcraft, BA, MS, HHD Consulting Group, LLC

For over thirty years hunted from an elevated position .  For me it offers many advantages that outweigh the disadvantages.  Hunting from a treestand is an individual choice and may not be suitable for everyone.  Some folks tell me that they would never hunt from a treestand.  After talking with them for awhile and explaining the safety aspects of treestands, many were converted.  Quite a few women have told me they never hunted from a treestand, but once they tried they have been very successful in harvesting nice trophy deer.

The type of treestand can make a difference in how you hunt as well.  I prefer climbing stands and ladder stands over hang-on stands.  Again, it is a matter of personal choice.  A climbing stand with a wrap around safety rail gives me a sense of safety and security.  A hang-on stand gives me the feeling that I am going to fall at any moment.  Of course I do have a balance disturbance that doesn’t help.  Other factors include a person’s age and how well they can manage a climbing stand or ladder stand.  A person’s medical condition can dictate what type of stand they use as well.

Regardless of the type of stand you use, they all have inherent similarities when it comes to their advantages and disadvantages.  Let’s take a look.

ADVANTAGES:

  • An elevated stand gives the hunter a wider field of view.  You can see game movement at greater distances which gives the hunter time to take a well-aimed, prepared shot.    You can also see other hunters on the ground.
  • A hunter’s scent is harder for a deer to detect.  Being elevated helps to dissipate the scent downwind.  Most game do not expect danger from above.
  • Missed shots go into the ground instead of traveling long distances horizontally, possibly striking other hunters with a stray arrow or bullet.
  • Top down shots will go through more body mass and leave a better blood trail.
  • A hunter’s movements in the stand are above the deer’s field of view and less likely to be detected.
  • By being in an elevated stand, there is minimal risk of being mistaken for game.
  • During seasons when blaze orange is required, hunters in elevated stands can see and be seen at greater distances by hunters on the ground.

DISADVANTAGES:

  • There is an increased risk of injury resulting from a fall getting into or out of your stand and while ascending or descending from your stand.
  • Unless you leave your stand in the woods for several days, they have to be carried in and out of the woods.
  • Permanent stands restrict the hunter from relocating them if the game changes their movement patterns or habits.  Many portable stands can be difficult to carry if they are large and bulky.
  • Elevated stands provide little protection from wind and cold.  Some recently manufactured ladder stands have optional wrap around sidings which offers some relief.
  • Shooting downward from an elevated position requires the hunter to adjust the angle of the shot.  If they haven’t practiced from an elevated position, they often over-correct and miss or severely wound the target.
  • Never hunt from an elevated stand if you are sick, drowsy, stayed up late the night before or have been consuming alcohol.
  • Due to the size of most elevated stands, there is minimal room for movement.  Confinement can become an issue unless you are a government worker that sits behind a desk all day long and are used to it.

The most important message for all hunters in elevated stands is to Always Harness Up Before You Climb Up.  For the best fall arrest system on the market today, go to: Mountaineer Sports and check out RESCUE ONE ‘CDS’.  It will save your life.